Have you ever seen a frozen waterfall? Did you know that because of the way it freezes that the ice swells to more than 10 times the size of the waterfall during the warmer months?
Nanataki Falls is amazing all year round, but in the winter it really is magical. There’s a new tour from the Hachimantai Resort Panorama Ski Area to snowshoe out through the pristine winter forest to see this stunning tower of ice.
The Matsuo Mine was once the most productive sulfur mine in all of Asia, and the apartment buildings for the workers were hailed as a model of community living. It was founded 1914 and at it’s peak in the 1950s employed 4,900 workers and housed a total of 15,000 people in these four-story concrete apartments. However, new technologies allowed sulfur to be extracted as a byproduct of oil refinement so extracting sulfur from volcanic regions became obsolete. The mine closed down in 1969, but these concrete housing units where the workers and their families once lived remain. Entrance is forbidden, but you’re welcome to drive down the little road that goes next to the apartments. It’s beautiful to gaze upon these structures as they are gradually reclaimed by nature, and ponder the fate of all human civilization.
Located right along the Hachimantai Aspite Line – this is a must-see spot if you’re heading up to the summit! Don’t miss it!
When you here the word Appi, the image that comes to mind is the Appi Kogen Ski Resort. But this area is also host to a vast beech forest area called Naka no Makiba. It was even voted as one of the top places in Japan for “forest bathing.” When we visited in November there were also a few horses put out to pasture here, adding to the mystique of this area. In fact, the trails around here are open for horseback riding during the warm seasons. (We’ll post more information on that here on the site soon! Imagine- horseback riding through this breathtaking natural environment in the expanse of wilderness past the Appi Kogen Ski Resort.)
This is also where you’ll find the trailhead to the 50km trail that leads up to the summit of Mt. Hachimantai, across to Mt. Mitsuishi,and the goes along the ridges all the way to Mt. Iwate! We’re dying to try that trail out and give you a more detailed report. Next year!
The Hachimantai Aspite and Jukai Lines are closing for the winter from 5pm on Tuesday, November 5th. The Hachimantai Aspite Line will reopen at 10 a.m. on April 15th and the Hachimantai Jukai Line will reopen at 10 a.m. on April 24th.
In April when it reopens we’ll again be able to enjoy the Hachimantai Snow Corridor at the same time as the cherry blossoms begin to bloom, all along the same road!
But first, winter is coming! It’s almost time for us to start enjoying the dreamy powder snow that some have started calling, Hachipow!
Hachimantai is home to a number of stunning waterfalls. No less than one might expect from an area full of unspoiled mountains and rivers. Some of these waterfalls are located in really easy to access locations, near roads, or at perhaps a short walk through a shrine (in the case of Fudo Falls). And others require an hour hike through the forest to reach. Nanataki Falls is one of the later, and oh so worth it.
Just a short distance from the Mori no Ohashi Bridge, there’s a little parking lot in the back area of the Iwate Prefectural Forest where you can start your hike. The trail itself goes all way to the summit of Mt. Iwate, but that is quite a long hike. If you’d just like to see the breathtaking view of Nanataki Falls, you can go in casual clothes and expect to be there and back in about 2 hours at most.
This waterfall has two peak seasons. One in the fall, when the leaves change, turning the area into a riot of color, and from late January through mid-February when the waterfall freezes and expands to massive size. Well worth the time and energy to come see for yourself!
The Hachimantai Aspite and Jukai Lines have begun their fall schedule. They will now be closed from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. Additionally, on days with poor weather they may be closed all day. Please check back here for any announcements of closings!
The fall is a beautiful time to hike around the summit of Hachimantai. The mountainsides are alive with color, and the crisp cool air is invigorating!
Winter is coming!
Goshiki Pond is just a short walk from the parking lot near the Hachimantai Aspite Line bottom gate. The name literally translates to 5-color-pond, but this is not a rainbow lake, but rather has volcanic minerals seeping up in to this pool that changes the color throughout the seasons. So the view changes dramatically depending on when you arrive. The photo here with the deep clear blue is from late summer, in August. The red clay banks of the pond really accentuate the color and make it even more stunning. Right next to it is Gozaisho pond, which doesn’t benefit from these volcanic minerals, and thus gives you a “control” example of a normal lake nearby that you can thus compare and really see the magic of Goshiki.
There’s also a small gazebo here giving you a perfect spot for a snack or lunch while you listen to the birds and enjoy the tranquility of this beautiful spot.
Throughout most of Japan the cherry blossom season is finished… but not in Hachimantai! This is one of the few places in Japan where the cherry trees are still in full bloom! Kenminnomori has both beautiful cherry blossoms and stunning views of Mt. Iwate!
Enjoy the beautiful birch forest, cherry blossoms, and Hachimantai Aspite Line and snow corridor all in the same day! It’s an experience you won’t soon forget!
Bus access to the Hachimantai Aspite Line Snow Corridor!
(We know you want it…!)
The Sansaku bus that will take you round trip with time to hike starts up on April 26th this year. Until then, you need to take a normal Iwate Kenpoku Bus. There are three options for getting there and three return options. (Each way one is direct and the others require a transfer.)
From Morioka Station East Exit Bus stop #3
9:42 a.m. departure – arrives 10:32 a.m. at the summit area.
10:42 a.m. departure – arrives at last stop (Kozan Shiryokan) at 12:04.. get off and wait for the next bus at 12:10, then arrive at the summit at 12:50 p.m.
12:12 a.m. departure – arrives at last stop (Kozan Shiryokan) at 1:30 p.m… get off and wait for the next bus at 1:40 p.m. – then arrive at the summit area at 2:20 p.m.
Returning from the summit bus stop to Morioka Station:
12:50 p.m. – transfer at the Kozan Shiryokan 1:30 arrival, 1:40 p.m. departure, arriving at Morioka Station at 2:58 p.m.
2:30 p.m. – transfer at the Kozan Shiryokan 3:10 p.m. arrival, 3:15 p.m. departure, arriving at Morioka Station at 4:29 p.m.
3:35 p.m. direct to Morioka Station arriving at 5:28 p.m.
The fare is 1,360 yen each way.